First off, I'm not saying any of you have a karma problem. Far be it from me to judge how anyone spends their time, energy, or soul points.
Even though we live in a dog-eat-dog, nature red in tooth and claw, sink or swim world, most of us manage to be pretty good folks despite it all. And most of us definitely want to be helpful.
So, no, I'm not saying you have a karma problem.
But let's just say you did.
And let's say you brought that problem with you to SxSW Interactive this year.
And let's say that buried deep within your list of private to-dos (you know the to-do list that you keep inside of you that you would never, ever show the rest of your team, god forbid) there's a little bullet point there that says, "Do better. Make a difference. Figure out a way to turn this crazy job of mine into something that helps people."
If that's you -- and I'm not saying it is! -- you could do a lot worse than drop into the Beacon Lounge this year. Not only is the Beacon Lounge the place to talk, walk, and leverage emerging technology for the good of all, it's also the perfect place to shower your soul with warm, soapy positivity.
If that sounds good to you, here are five great ways to burnish your karma in the Beacon Lounge:
1. Get to know an awesome nonprofit who understands the power of technology.
Each year I'm blown away by all of the cool social entrepreneurs, cause marketers, and other nerdy do-gooders who are leveraging technology to make a difference. But it's the nonprofits that have my heart. So often it's the nonprofits in our communities who are best suited to leverage the time, talent and money of the community. You can find some of the coolest in the Beacon Lounge. And you never know with a new relationship will take you.
2. Do your cause-related business in the Beacon Lounge.
If you're a veteran of social good tech, bring your SxSWi experience to the Beacon! We need your energy, insight, and expertise to inspire everyone else to stop by and be moved by their time in the Lounge. Come in, pull up a couch, grab a cup of coffee or a beer, hold your meetings here. Do your business. And then make yourself available and open to anyone who is interested in getting to know you.
3. Check out the programming in the Beacon Lounge and learn about the intersection of technology and social good.
Thanks to the good work of our friends at Beaconfire, some of the smartest minds in social technology will be presenting during SxSW. It's totally free, so why not come in and learn something new about measurement, audience engagement, content strategy, storytelling, and more.
4. Donate to an awesome cause.
Nonprofits need more than just your time and attention -- they also need your money! Coffee, snacks, and beer are available this year on donation basis for organizations like the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund.
5. Be cool.
Finally, the number one way to rebuild your karma in the Beacon Lounge this year is simply to bring your good vibes. SxSW can be stressful, competitive, exhausting, scary, and distracting! The Beacon Lounge, on the other hand, is all about collaboration and good old-fashioned "helpyness." And even if you don't have a great idea or powerful innovation to share, sometimes the best thing we can do for someone else is to smile, offer a hand, and say something nice.
Keep an eye out for me in the Beacon Lounge too! You can reach me before and during SxSWi at @volmatchRobert.
Robert J. Rosenthal is vice president of communications and marketing at VolunteerMatch, the web's largest volunteer engagement network. He is a frequent public speaker on nonprofits, technology, volunteering, and cause-related marketing.